‘Nomadland,’ ‘Willy’s Wonderland’ Top New Digital, Disc Releases April 13

Awards-season frontrunner Nomadland, from Disney’s Searchlight Pictures, tops the list of new digital sellthrough titles April 13, while Screen Media’s Willy’s Wonderland leads the list of new disc releases.

The critically acclaimed Nomadland, an exploration of modern-day van life on the road starring Oscar winner Frances McDormand, is now available from digital retailers after a simultaneous run ion Hulu and in theaters, where it pulled in $2.1 million domestically. It arrives on Blu-ray Disc April 27.

The Oscar-nominated film as already won Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture — Drama, and Best Director for Chloé Zhao, who also recently became just the second woman to win the top prize from the Directors Guild of America.

Screen Media releases the comedic horror actioner Willy’s Wonderland on Blu-ray Disc and DVD April 13. Nicolas Cage stars as a quiet loner who finds himself stranded in a remote town when his car breaks down. Unable to pay for the repairs he needs, he agrees to spend the night cleaning Willy’s Wonderland, an abandoned family fun center. He soon discovers the Wonderland’s dark secret when he’s trapped inside and forced to battle the possessed animatronic mascots that roam the halls.

RLJE Films April 13 releases the documentary Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on the Exorcist on Blu-ray, VOD and for digital purchase. Leap of Faith examines the 1973 horror classic The Exorcist, the nuances of director William Friedkin’s filmmaking process, and the mysteries of faith and fate that helped shape his life and filmography, as told by the man himself. The film originally debuted on Shudder, a premium streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural. Both RLJ and Shudder are owned by AMC Networks.

Lionsgate April 13 releases the DVD of the 13th season of History’s “Ancient Aliens,” the controversial series that explores stories of extraterrestrial contact with Earth.

PBS April 13 releases the “Nature” documentary Pumas — Legends of the Ice Mountains on DVD.

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Warner Archive offers a number of Blu-ray selections April 13, including the musical Broadway Melody of 1940, the 1932 pre-code horror film Doctor X, the 1947 drama Green Dolphin Street, and the animated Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space: The Complete Series.

Kino Lorber April 13 offers new Blu-rays of two Mel Brooks classics: 1967’s The Producers and 1987’s Spaceballs, the latter also arriving on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for the first time.

Also from Kino April 13 is the comedy The Wild Life, screenwriter Cameron Crowe’s 1984 spiritual successor to Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Read our review here.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

‘Soul’ Ascends to Top of Disc Sales Charts

Disney’s Soul debuted at No. 1 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended March 27.

The latest release from Pixar Animation Studios, Soul bypassed a theatrical release as a result of the pandemic and instead became available through the Disney+ streaming service Dec. 25, though it did make $116.8 million at the international box office in territories where Disney+ isn’t available.It also won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature and is nominated for the Academy Award for the same category.

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The week’s No. 2 seller on both charts was Universal Pictures’ News of the World. The Western stars Tom Hanks as a Civil War veteran who makes a living reading newspapers to people in frontier towns, whose travels get sidetracked when he is encounters a young white girl who had been captured and raised by Indians, and is tasked with returning her to her family. It earned $12.6 million at the domestic box office. News of the World sold about 91% as many overall copies as Soul, but only about 49% as many Blu-ray Discs.

Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 77% of total Soul unit sales compared with 42% for News of the World; 4K Ultra HD comprised 11% of total Soul sales and 8% of News of the World.

The title that had topped the charts the previous four weeks, Universal’s The Croods: A New Age, fell to No. 3 on both charts, with Sony Pictures’ Monster Hunter pushed to No. 4.

Warner’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray re-release of 2014’s Godzilla landed at No. 8 overall and No. 5 on the Blu-ray chart. The new 4K edition accounted for 97% of all sales of Godzilla for the week.

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On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended March 28, News of the World was No. 1, pushing The Croods: A New Age to No. 2.

Monster Hunter remained No. 3 and Redbox’s SAS: Red Notice was No. 4. Universal’s Promising Young Woman dropped to No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 3-27-21
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 3-28-21
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 3-27-21
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 3-27-21
Sales Report for Week Ended 3-27-21
Digital Transactions Snapshot for Week Ended 3-29-21

‘News of the World’ Tops ‘Watched at Home’ Chart; ‘Soul’ Debuts at No. 4

Universal Pictures’ News of the World climbed to No. 1 on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart the week ended March 27, bolstered by its March 23 release on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD. It had been No. 13 the previous week and No. 11 the week before that following its March 9 bow via digital sellthrough.

The Western stars Tom Hanks as a Civil War veteran who makes a living reading newspapers to people in frontier towns, whose travels get sidetracked when he is encounters a young white girl who had been captured and raised by Indians, and is tasked with returning her to her family. It earned $12.6 million at the domestic box office.

Universal Pictures’ The Croods: A New Age, which had topped the Watched at Home Chart for four straight weeks, dropped to No. 2.The DreamWorks Animation sequel features the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds and Peter Dinklage, and follows the caveman Crood family as they encounter the more civilized Bettermans.

That pushed Sony Pictures’ video game adaptation Monster Hunter, starring Milla Jovovich as the leader of a military unit battling deadly creatures from another world, to No. 3 on the Watched at Home chart, which tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, but not premium VOD or disc rental).

The week’s top newcomer to the list was Disney’s Soul, the lauded Pixar Animation Studios film that as a result of the pandemic bypassed theaters and was released directly through the Disney+ streaming service Dec. 25, though it did make $116.8 million at the international box office in territories where Disney+ isn’t available. Soul was made available through disc and digital sellthrough March 23.

Rounding out the top five was Universal Pictures’ Promising Young Woman. The revenge thriller starring Carey Mulligan slipped a spot from the previous week.

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Warner’s Wonder Woman 1984, which became available for digital sellthrough March 16, dropped two spots to No. 6, but should get a boost in the coming week thanks to its release on all disc formats March 30.

Warner’s 2014 Godzilla movie made its first appearance on the Watched at Home chart at No. 17 thanks to a March 23 re-release of the film on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in the lead-up to the March 31 U.S. release of Godzilla vs. Kong in theaters and on HBO Max.

No. 20 was another newcomer, Vertical Entertainment’s The Devil Below, a monster movie about four amateur explorers who pay a visit to Shookum Hills, a town in the remote Appalachian Mountains that was abandoned decades ago due to a mysterious coal mine fire. It has been available for digital purchase and VOD since March 5.

  1. News of the World (Universal)
  2.  The Croods: A New Age (Universal)
  3.  Monster Hunter (Sony Pictures)
  4. Soul (Disney)
  5. Promising Young Woman (Universal)
  6. Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner)
  7. Girl in the Basement (A+E)
  8. Greenland (Universal/STX)
  9. Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  10. Wrong Turn (2021) (Lionsgate)
  11. Tenet (Warner)
  12. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  13. Let Him Go (Universal)
  14. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  15. Fatale (Lionsgate)
  16. Crisis (Quiver)
  17. Godzilla (2014, Warner)
  18. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Warner)
  19. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  20. The Devil Below (Vertical)


Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended March 27.

‘Wonder Woman 1984’ on Disc, ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ on Digital Among This Week’s New Home Viewing Releases

Warner’s Wonder Woman 1984 and Universal’s Our Friend top the slate of titles debuting on disc March 30, while Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon becomes available for digital sellthrough April 2.

Wonder Woman 1984, the highly anticipated sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman with Gal Gadot reprising her role as the superheroine, was slated to be one of last summer’s big tentpole theatrical releases before pandemic scheduling shifts led it to becoming the first title under the new AT&T paradigm to make Warner films available simultaneously in theaters and for a month on the HBO Max streaming service. It debuted Dec. 25 on HBO Max and earned $45.9 million at the domestic box office before being available for premium VOD rental Feb. 12, then digital sellthrough March 16.

Warner’s Wonder Woman 1984 disc releases include DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray formats, while Warner Archive is releasing a 3D Blu-ray of the film.

The Gravitas Ventures drama Our Friend arrives on DVD from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. It became available for digital sellthrough a week ago. The film tells the true story of the Teague family — journalist Matt (Casey Affleck), his wife Nicole (Dakota Johnson) and their two young daughters — and how their lives are upended by Nicole’s diagnosis of terminal cancer. As Matt’s responsibilities as a caretaker and parent become increasingly overwhelming, the couple’s best friend Dane Faucheux (Jason Segel) offers to come and help out. As Dane puts his life on hold to stay with his friends, the impact of this life-altering decision proves greater and more profound than anyone could have imagined.

The computer-animated adventure fantasy Raya and the Last Dragon will be available for digital purchase starting Friday, April 2, from Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution. Another film delayed by the pandemic, Raya was eventually released March 5 in theaters and as a $29.99 add-on through the Disney+ streaming service’s Premier Access option. In the film, long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the last dragon in order to finally stop the Druun for good. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than dragon magic to save the world — it’s going to take trust as well. It arrives on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray May 18.

Another new March 30 release is Another Round, a co-production between Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden that is nominated at the 93rd Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film and Best Director for Thomas Vinterberg. The dark comedy stars Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang and Lars Ranthe as a group of friends who decide their lives would be happier if they drank enough alcohol to maintain a constant buzz without getting fully drunk. Another Round is available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital sellthrough from Samuel Goldwyn Films

Lionsgate March 30 releases horror film The Toll as a Blu-ray combo pack (with digital copy) and on DVD. The feature film directorial debut of Michael Nader follows a young girl named Cami who takes a taxi to her father’s country home. But when a wrong turn by her chatty driver, Spencer, results in the car stalling on a dark and remote road, the pair soon realize they they are being watched by an unseen presence — one that sees them as trespassers, and is ready to exact a deadly toll.

The supernatural thriller The Widow arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and on demand March 30 from Shout Studios and Scream Factory, the horror imprint of indie distributor Shout! Factory. The film chronicles the search for people whose mysterious disappearance in a Russian forest has for decades been attributed to a dark spirit. The Blu-ray and DVD include both the original Russian language audio track and an English-dubbed option.

Also available now, having been released for digital sellthrough last Friday, March 26, is the comedy Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar, from Lionsgate. Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, the duo behind Bridesmaids, reunite as lifelong friends who embark on the adventure of a lifetime when they decide to leave their small Midwestern town for the first time ever. The film debuted on PVOD Feb. 12 and arrives on Blu-ray Disc and DVD April 6.

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Among catalog titles, director Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 Biblical epic The Ten Commandments starring Charlton Heston as Moses arrives on 4K Ultra HD for the first time March 30 from Paramount Home Entertainment. The release commemorates the film’s 65th anniversary and arrives just in time for the April 4 Easter holiday. As part of the restoration done in 2010, the film was scanned in 6K and those files were the basis for this Dolby Vision version. Paramount spent more than 150 hours doing new color work and clean-up on the scan of the original VistaVision negative. The 4K release also includes a DTS-HD 5.1 lossless soundtrack.

Another DeMille, classic, 1952 spectacle The Greatest Show on Earth, arrives for the first time on Blu-ray March 30 as part of the Paramount Presents line. Winner of the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Writing, Motion Picture Story, the film captures the thrills, chills and exhilaration of the circus. Featuring three intertwining plot lines filled with romance and rivalry, DeMille’s epic includes spectacular action sequences, including a train wreck. Stars include Betty Hutton, Cornel Wilde, Charlton Heston, Dorothy Lamour, Gloria Grahame and James Stewart. The film has been newly restored from a 4K scan of the original negative, and the Blu-ray includes a new “Filmmaker Focus” featurette with film historian Leonard Maltin.

Also landing March 30 on Blu-ray and DVD is the 1991 romantic comedy Defending Your Life. The film was written by, directed by and stars Albert Brooks as a hapless advertising executive who dies suddenly and finds himself in Judgment City, a gleaming way station where the newly deceased must prove they lived a life of sufficient courage to advance in their journey through the universe. As he struggles to make his case, he forms a budding relationship with an uninhibited woman (Meryl Streep) who offers him a chance to finally feel alive. Criterion’s edition includes a new 4K digital restoration supervised by Brooks, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray, plus a slew of extras.

Coming to disc March 30 from MVD Entertainment Group and Severin Films are Perdita Durango (1997), The Day of the Beast (1995), Nosferatu in Venice (1988) and A Scream in the Streets (1973).

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.



$29.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $43.99 UHD BD.
Rated ‘PG’ for thematic elements and some language.
Voices of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton, Rachel House, Alice Braga, Richard Ayoade, Wes Studi, Fortune Feimster, Zenobia Shroff, Rhylicia Rashad, Donnell Rawlings, Questlove, Angela Bassett.

A music teacher with dreams of jazz glory nearly unlocks the secrets of the universe in Soul, which is about as profound a rumination on the nature of existence as one is likely to find in an animated movie.

Soul is another film from Pixar, like Inside Out and Monsters, Inc., before it, that explores mysterious aspects of how reality works by breaking ontological concepts down into cute and cuddly characters children can relate to, framed in a story their parents are more likely to appreciate.

Jamie Foxx voices Joe, a middle-aged jazz pianist whose stagnant music career has been supplanted by the routines of a middle school band teacher, leaving him artistically unsatisfied. One day, a former student offers him a gig in the quartet of a well-known jazz performer, which Joe sees as his big break. In his excitement over the opportunity, however, Joe slips into an open manhole, and before he realizes what has happened he finds himself a disembodied soul in a black void floating toward the bright light of the Great Beyond.

Unwilling to accept death just as he’s on the verge of realizing what he considers his purpose in life, Joe runs from the light and winds up in a different part of the spiritual realm, the Great Before, where young souls are nurtured until ready to experience life on Earth. The powers that be mistake Joe for a mentor for the new souls, and assign him a troublesome student named 22 (Tina Fey), who for thousands of years has shown little interest in proceeding to Earth. Learning of Joe’s situation, however, 22 agrees to help him return to his body.

And this is pretty much what the film’s marketing materials made the story out to be. But things get a bit more complicated than a trip through the afterlife. The pair journey to an astral plane where 22 knows a meditating guru who specializes in saving lost souls, but a mishap sends both of them to Earth. When 22 awakes in the hospital in Joe’s body, and Joe in a nearby cat, Soul quickly turns into Pixar’s version of a body-swap movie. As they work to correct the mistake, Joe the cat instructs 22 on getting ready for the gig, while 22 as Joe begins to experience true life and its simple pleasures for the first time.

Here it becomes clear that the film’s integration of jazz into the plot is more than a stylistic choice, but a clever narrative shorthand that builds upon the improvisational nature of the musical form to symbolize and express many of the motifs the film is exploring.

Soul is one of those movies that uses big ideas to teach simple lessons. The way the film depicts the relationship between the real and spiritual worlds might open the door to quite a few questions about just what is going on with Joe’s body, and may even prompt a few frank discussions between parents and children — but as a plot device it’s best not to delve into the mechanics of it too deeply. The film itself knows this, which is why the spiritual constructs are always described as an “illusion” and “hypothetical.”

However, the realm of the Great Before provides a great excuse to depict the kind of colorful setting Pixar excels at. It’s a beautiful, ethereal place of calming blues, serene golden light and soothing new age music. Pixar is no stranger to wistful films, but this is certainly one of its most beautiful, and a terrific reminder to slow down and appreciate the simple pleasures life has to offer.

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The Blu-ray presentation offers a bevy of bonus materials typical of a Pixar release.

Included with the film on the standard-Blu-ray Disc is an informative commentary with director Pete Docter, producer Dina Murray, and co-writer/co-director Kemp Powers. Also included on this disc are a couple of featurettes: the eight minute “Astral Taffy,” about designing the soul world; and the 10-minute “Not Your Average Joe,” about crafting Pixar’s first black lead character.

The 4K disc includes just the film presentation without any extras.

A dedicated standard-Blu-ray bonus disc includes a number of interesting behind-the-scenes featurettes that delve into the challenges of crafting the film’s complex subject matter into a digestible narrative. These include the six-and-a-half-minute “Pretty Deep for a Cartoon,” about the film’s heady themes; the eight-minute “Into the Zone,” about finding the film’s musical identity with Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and John Batiste, the latter helping incorporate jazz into the film’s visual style; the three-minute “Jazz Greats,” in which a number of jazz musicians discuss what music means to them; and the seven-minute “Soul, Improvised,” which chronicles the creative team’s challenges of working from home to finish the film during the pandemic. (The same featurettes are included with the movie on Disney+ as well.)

Also included on the bonus disc are 22 minutes of deleted sequences showcasing earlier, different concepts for telling the story, providing some good insights into the story process, plus several of the film’s trailers in various languages.

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Disney, NFL and ESPN Reach Long-Term Agreement

The Walt Disney Company, ESPN and the National Football League have reached a long-term agreement that will result in ABC/ESPN joining the Super Bowl rotation, having additional playoff action, exclusive national ESPN+ matchups over the course of the agreement, and more regular-season contests including “Monday Night Football.”

The deal will also result in enhanced game quality and new schedule flexibility, according to a Disney press release.

The 10-year agreement begins with the 2023 season.

“This landmark agreement guarantees that ESPN’s passionate fan base will continue to have access to the best the NFL has to offer,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said in a statement. “Bringing all the considerable and unique capabilities of The Walt Disney Company and ESPN to the table opens up so many opportunities across our industry-leading direct-to-consumer, broadcast, cable, linear, social and digital outlets. Special thanks to Roger Goodell and the NFL owners for continuing to embrace new ways to appeal to their fans, especially through increasingly important platforms like ESPN+.”

“When ESPN and the NFL work best together, the results are transformational for sports fans and the industry,” Jimmy Pitaro, chairman, ESPN and sports content, said in a statement. “Some of the most remarkable collaborative examples have occurred in the past 12 months and have demonstrated the extraordinary range of The Walt Disney Company that is fundamental to this agreement. There are so many exciting new components, including Super Bowls and added playoff games, new end-of-season games with playoff implications, exclusive streaming games on ESPN+, scheduling flexibility and enhancements, and much more. It’s a wide-ranging agreement unlike any we’ve reached with the NFL, and we couldn’t be more energized about what the future holds.”

“We are thrilled to extend and expand our partnership with Disney far into the future, as ESPN will continue to host cable’s most-watched series, ‘Monday Night Football,’ and ABC is returning as a Super Bowl broadcaster,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We look forward to working with Disney as they use new platforms, including ESPN+, in innovative ways to reach even more NFL fans.”

ABC/ESPN will carry two Super Bowls (2026, 2030 seasons) as part of a rotation between the NFL’s media partners, marking the first time that an ESPN-NFL agreement includes such Super Bowl rights, according to the press release. ABC last televised the Super Bowl in February 2006 (2005 NFL season). Also, ESPN will present more playoff action, adding an annual divisional round game to its schedule, which will continue to include a wild-card matchup.

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ESPN’s increased regular-season package will include one annual exclusive national game on ESPN+. The game will take place internationally and will be aired live in the Sunday morning Eastern time zone window. Additionally, this agreement allows ESPN the opportunity to simulcast all ESPN/ABC game telecasts on ESPN+.

Also included is rights for the return of ESPN+ highlights show “NFL PrimeTime” each week on the streaming platform.

ESPN will increase its regular-season schedule by 35% — six more games per year (from 17 to 23). It will include an ESPN game on Monday nights (including three weeks with a separate game on ABC), a Saturday doubleheader the season’s final week and the Sunday morning game on ESPN+.

The added two Saturday games will take place during the final week of the regular season and will showcase matchups with playoff implications. Both of those games will be simulcast on ABC and ESPN.

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The agreement includes new elements that will enhance the caliber of the “Monday Night Football” slate, according to the press release. First, the schedule will be more flexible than in years past with the ability for the NFL to swap “a more meaningful” game into the “Monday Night Football” slot with 12 days’ notice from Week 12 on, according to the press release. Additionally, top teams will appear more often, as a result of the agreement which provides ESPN the ability to showcase any four teams at least twice, “leading to even more compelling games,” according to Disney.

With comprehensive NFL highlights rights, ESPN will continue to offer and/or develop NFL-branded programming, pre- and post-game shows, news, analysis and highlights studio shows, storytelling vehicles, digital and social content and more. The deal also includes data rights (e.g. – NFL’s Next Gen stats), according to Disney.

In addition, ESPN has once again secured rights to the annual Pro Bowl. Other key elements include opportunities for alternate telecasts, extending and expanding ESPN’s international rights (including areas in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Oceania, India), ESPN Deportes and more.

ESPN has also obtained rights to NFL Drafts, an event that has been an ESPN fixture since 1980, as part of the agreement.

The 2021 season will be the last in ESPN’s current arrangement with the NFL. ESPN and the NFL have reached a bridge agreement for 2022 — the year between when the previous agreement expires and the new 10-year extension begins. For both the 2021 and 2022 seasons, all the foundational components from the agreement expiring in 2021 will be included (e.g. – weekly “Monday Night Football” games), in addition to select elements from the new 10-year agreement. For example, in 2021, ESPN will be adding the two Saturday games with playoff implications on the last weekend of the regular season. For the 2022 bridge year, ESPN will showcase the two Saturday games with playoff implications on the last weekend of the season, a Sunday morning ESPN+ game and one ABC “Monday Night Football” broadcast on a week there is also an ESPN Monday Night Football telecast.

Report: HBO Max Superhero Streamers Skew Male; Less So on Disney+

With superheroes a content centerpiece across both HBO Max and Disney+ subscription streaming services, new data from Diesel Labs suggests Max’s Zack Snyder’s Justice League is outpacing Wonder Woman 1984 when it comes to male and female viewers. By comparison, viewership for “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” on Disney+ is more evenly divided when it comes to the sexes.
Diesel Labs found that demographics for Snyder’s director’s cut skewed very male at 70% compared with Wonder Woman 1984 at 62%. And while the Justice League audience underindexes for most content (shows, movies), it over indexes 220% for gaming, with top titles Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Deathloop and Mortal Kombat 11 — suggesting the title’s streamers are also gamers.
Content is better balanced demographically with “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” which saw 57% male viewers and 55% for “WandaVision.” Streamers are also skewing younger than DC (Justice League, Wonder Woman) audiences, with more than half of the viewers under 24 years old, compared with about 40% under 24 for the DC films. This is a comparison to watch as additional episodes air.


Merchandising: Finding the ‘Soul’ of Retailer Exclusives

Disney animated movies are reliable subjects for retailer exclusive editions, and the March 23 Blu-ray release of Pixar’s Soul was no exception.

Target offered a $34.99 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack of the Oscar-nominated animated film packed with a limited-edition gallery booklet of artwork from the film.

As it has been doing several times in the past few months, Target also touted another buy-two-get-one-free sale on movies, kids’ books, board games, activity sets, select video games and puzzles. The offer excludes new releases and preorders.

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Best Buy offered the Soul 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack in Steelbook packaging for $34.99.

Best Buy’s ‘Soul’ 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook

‘Soul,’ ‘The Undoing,’ ‘Our Friend’ Among Top New Disc and Digital Releases March 23

Disney’s Soul, HBO’s The Undoing and Universal’s Our Friend top the slate of new releases available for home viewing March 23.

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution will release the animated movie Soul on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, and through digital retailers. Directed by Academy Award winner Pete Docter, co-directed by Kemp Powers and produced by Academy Award nominee Dana Murray, Soul tells the story of Joe (voiced by Jamie Foxx), who lands the gig of his life at the best jazz club in town. But one misstep lands Joe in a fantastical place: The Great Before. There, he teams up with soul 22 (Tina Fey), and together they find the answers to some of life’s biggest questions.

The latest feature from Pixar Animation Studios was held back from its planned domestic theatrical release as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and instead was made available to subscribers of the Disney+ streaming service on Christmas for no additional charge. In limited release internationally it made $116 million at the global box office. It also won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature and is nominated for the Academy Award in the same category.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the six-episode HBO limited series The Undoing on Blu-ray Disc and DVD March 23. Based on the novel You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz, The Undoing stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant as a married couple whose lives are upended by a violent death and a chain of terrible revelations.

The drama Our Friend will be available for digital sellthrough March 23. The film tells the true story of the Teague family — journalist Matt (Casey Affleck), his wife Nicole (Dakota Johnson) and their two young daughters — and how their lives are upended by Nicole’s diagnosis of terminal cancer. As Matt’s responsibilities as a caretaker and parent become increasingly overwhelming, the couple’s best friend Dane Faucheux (Jason Segel) offers to come and help out. As Dane puts his life on hold to stay with his friends, the impact of this life-altering decision proves greater and more profound than anyone could have imagined. It arrives on DVD March 30 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

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Universal’s News of the World arrives on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray March 23. Tom Hanks stars as a former Army captain in the 1870s who moves from town to town sharing the news from the far reaches of the globe. In the plains of Texas, he crosses paths with a 10-year-old girl (Helena Zengel) taken in by the Kiowa people and raised as one of their own, and agrees to deliver the child where the law says she belongs. As they travel hundreds of miles into the unforgiving wilderness, the two face tremendous challenges of both human and natural forces. It was released for digital purchase March 9.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Breaking News in Yuba County on Blu-ray Disc and DVD March 23. Directed by Tate Taylor (The Girl on the Train, The Help), the film stars Allison Janney as a suburban housewife who becomes a local celebrity in Yuba County when she embarks on a city-wide search to find her missing husband. Along the way, she encounters her half-sister (Mila Kunis), a local news reporter desperate for a story, and also stumbles into a wannabe mobster (Awkwafina), a relentless local policewoman (Regina Hall), her husband’s deadbeat brother (Jimmi Simpson), who all set out to uncover the truth behind the disappearance.

Cinedigm March 23 will release the Super Bowl LV Champions highlight film on DVD and Blu-ray, presenting highlights from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Timed for Zack Snyder’s Justice League on HBO Max, Warner Archive releases a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — Ultimate Edition remastered to match the 4:3 aspect ratio of the Snyder Cut.

Paramount March 23 releases a Blu-ray collection of 10 Best Picture Oscar winners, including Wings (1927), My Fair Lady (1964), The Godfather (1972), Terms of Endearment (1983), Forrest Gump (1994), The English Patient (1996), Titanic (1997), American Beauty (1999), Gladiator (2000) and No Country for Old Men (2007).

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

Disney’s ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ Remains Atop Domestic Box Office Concurrent With Premier Access in the Home

Disney’s animated Raya and the Last Dragon continues its strong pandemic box office run, reportedly generating an estimated $5.2 million in ticket sales across more than 2,200 domestic screens for the weekend ended March 21. The title has generated about $24.8 million ($71.6 worldwide) since its March 3 bow concurrently with premium VOD ($29.99) availability on Disney+. Raya is Disney’s second PVOD release following live-action Mulan.

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Among the weekend’s top-performing theatrical titles in the U.S., the usual suspects continue to resonate, including Warner Bros. Pictures animation release Tom and Jerry with $3.8 million ($32 million total; $70+ million global); Lionsgate’s Chaos Walking generated $2.2 million ($10 million; $15 million), followed by the studio’s newcomer, The Courier, starring Rachel Brosnahan and Benedict Cumberbatch, the latter as a businessman-turned-Cold War-spy, with $2 million. Universal Pictures/DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods: A New Age continues to shine, selling $620,000 in tickets ($55.2 million; $159.7 million) despite being available across multiple retail channels.

Oscar nominees A Promising Woman and Minari saw weekend ticket sales of $195,000 and $306,000, respectively, bring the movies’ total theatrical revenue to $5.7 million and $1.3 million.

The weekend saw most of the U.S. exhibition market re-open for business, albeit at 25% capacity (or 100 people per screen) due to ongoing government restrictions.

“This weekend showed solid results from holdovers, demonstrating the revenue generating horsepower of opening the biggest box-office market in North America,” Paul Dergarabedian, media analyst with Comscore, said in a statement. “Eager movie fans in Los Angeles showed up in solid numbers to enjoy the big screen experience once again.”